Family Ties: Season 1

Episodes

# Air Date Title
1 Sep 22
1982

Pilot

The smitten Alex is thrilled at the thought of escorting pretty, budding socialite Kimberly Blanton to her country club’s dance, but Steven and Elyse are appalled that th…

2 Sep 29
1982

Not With My Sister You Don't

As head of the household while his parents are away for the weekend, an overly confident Alex throws a big bash, but when his sister Mallory leaves the party with the school Ro…

3 Oct 06
1982

I Know Jennifer's Boyfriend

Peer pressure to shun the opposite sex causes 9-year-old Jennifer to give up her friendship with Justin Perkins, but thanks to her mother Elyse, the kids come together at a jit…

4 Oct 27
1982

Summer of '82

Seduced by an ““older woman”“ of 21, the hitherto inexperienced Alex is devastated to learn that she thinks of their relationship as casual.
When…

5 Nov 03
1982

I Never Killed for My Father

Sensitive, liberal Steven and his macho, conservative father, Jake, clash as usual during the elder’s annual visit until Jake’s startling news leads to a first effo…

6 Nov 10
1982

Give Uncle Arthur a Kiss

Mallory is horrified and confused when a close family friend and older business associate of her father, Steven, makes a pass at her.
Arthur Cantrell has been a good frie…

7 Nov 17
1982

Big Brother is Watching

As the new editor of his school paper, Alex uncovers a cheating scandal and to everyone’s chagrin prints a list of students who were caught – including his sister M…

8 Nov 24
1982

No Nukes Is Good Nukes

To the dismay of the Keaton children and their equally conservative grandparents,Steven and Elyse take time out Thanksgiving Day to attend an anti-nuke rally and wind up spendi…

9 Dec 01
1982

Death of a Grocer

Though Alex loves working at kindly Mr. Adler’s ““Mom and Pop”“ grocery store, to the old man’s dismay, he quits to ““climb the…

10 Dec 08
1982

Have Gun, Will Unravel

The Keatons are burglarized, and a terrified Steven and Elyse wrestle with the previously unthinkable notion of buying a gun for protection.
As pacifists, Steven and Elys…

11 Dec 15
1982

A Christmas Story

When a blizzard forces the Keatons to spend Christmas at home, Elyse’s gift to Steven, an album filled with fascinating old photos, sparks flashbacks to the birth of thei…

12 Dec 22
1982

Oops

Unable to face her own mother, Mallory’s pregnant friend Cindy Sullivan confides in Elyse, whose advice to the teenager seems to backfire – and causes a rift betwee…

13 Jan 12
1983

Sherry Baby

When popular sorority girl Sherry Marshall befriends Mallory to get close to Alex, Mallory brings them together in hopes of joining Pi Nu but her plan backfires.
Mallory&…

14 Jan 19
1983

The Fugitive (1)

Elyse’s younger brother, Ned, a go-getting corporate executive who is Alex’s idol, pays a surprise visit and puzzles everyone with his cloak-and-dagger behavior.

15 Jan 26
1983

The Fugitive (2)

With the FBI hot on Ned’s heels for embezzling $4-1/2 million in corporate funds, Elyse’s ethical brother and Alex’s idol tells the…

16 Feb 09
1983

Margin of Error

Alex amasses a bundle by playing the stock market on paper for his economics class, and courts disaster by secretly investing his father’s money.
Even broker Dan Ma…

17 Feb 16
1983

French Lessons

Mallory’s handsome but shy French tutor, Jeff, finally musters up the nerve to ask her out and then courts disaster by enlistening Alex’s advice on how to behave on…

18 Feb 23
1983

I Gotta Be Ming

As ““Big Brother”“ to a 10-year-old Vietnamese boy, Alex tries to mold Ming into his own image, and he learns an unforgettable lesson when he breaks a p…

19 Mar 16
1983

Suzanne Takes You Down

Soon after free lance architect Elyse Keaton hires her friend Suzanne Davis to handle clerical chores, she wants to fire the under-qualified, overly aggressive secretary, but S…

20 Mar 28
1983

The Fifth Wheel

Alex gets stuck babysitting for his little sister Jennifer, who is fed up with feeling in the way at his poker game and decides to disappear.

21 Apr 04
1983

Stage Fright (a.k.a.) Video Jitters

While gearing up to face the TV cameras as captain of his high school’s team on “Quiz Off,” Alex panics at first when a teammate drops out. He then launches a…

22 Apr 11
1983

Elyse D'Arc

In her zeal for good causes Elyse devotes so much energy to committee work that a neglected Steven feels shortchanged.
Ecstatic to have won an award for his public televi…

About Family Ties

Set during the early years of the Reagan administration, Elyse and Steven Keaton (Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross) are Baby Boomers and liberals [2] raising their three children: Alex (Michael J. Fox), Mallory (Justine Bateman) and Jennifer (Tina Yothers) in suburban Columbus, Ohio. Married in 1964, Elyse, an independent architect, and Steven, a manager in a local public television station, were hippies during the 1960s. According to the episode, “A Christmas Story” in season one, they were influenced by John F. Kennedy and were members of the Peace Corps following their marriage in 1964. Alex was born in 1965 in Africa. Mallory was born while Elyse and Steven were students at the University of California, Berkeley in 1967, and Jennifer was born the night Richard Nixon won his second term in 1972.

Much of the humor of the series focused on the cultural divide during the 1980s when younger generations rejected the counterculture of the 1960s and embraced the conservative politics which came to define the 1980s.3 Both Alex and Mallory embrace Reaganomics and exhibit right-wing attitudes: Alex is a Young Republican and Mallory is a more traditional young woman in contrast to her feminist mother.2 Jennifer, an athletic tomboy and the youngest child, shares the values of her parents. Elyse and Steven have a fourth child, Andrew, born in 1984.

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